1904 Moretti bas-relief

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The 1904 Moretti bas-relief is a small carved relief made by sculptor Giuseppe Moretti of Talladega marble in 1904. The carving depicts the head of a woman, her face lifted upwards and her eyes closed. It is carved on a tablet measuring about 9 inches wide by 14½ inches tall and 3 inches thick.

Moretti gave the carving to James MacKnight, a member of the Birmingham Commercial Club and the Alabama State Fair Association, who had first proposed commissioning a colossal cast-iron statue to represent the Birmingham District at the St Louis World's Fair. MacKnight praised Moretti in a letter to The Birmingham News saying that his work "has been excelled by very few sculptors, and the wonderful fire and energy of his works are sufficiently among the greatest of modern sculptors." He was also thankful that Moretti had agreed to undertake the commission for a relatively small fee of $6,000, and to commit to a brutally-short schedule for completion. The resulting Vulcan was Moretti's largest and most publicized commission. It was inscribed "To my friend J.A. MacKnight; G. Moretti 1904" on the reverse.

MacKnight left the carving in his estate when he died in the 1920s. It remained with the family and was displayed at the homes of his grandsons, Thomas and James Washington, until James died of cancer in 2010. Before his death, the family had decided to donate it to Vulcan Park, where it can be used to help tell the story of Moretti's love for Alabama marble and demonstrate his skill as a sculptor.

Giuseppe Moretti
 Associates  Dorothea Moretti · Geneva Mercer · P. S. Arkwright · Henry Atkinson · C. J. Harrah
Works 1904 Moretti bas-relief · Mary Cahalan statue · William Elias B. Davis statue · Head of Christ · Patrick O'Reilly statue · Vulcan
Other Monte Pino · Gibson-Moretti Marble Company · Moretti-Harrah Marble Company · The Moretti Code


  • Gray, Jeremy (February 9, 2011) "Sculpture by Vulcan artist added to museum atop Red Mountain." Birmingham News